VIOLENCE-TORN MDC-T is battling to come up with ways to deal with an impeding implosion with indications that despite the widely publicised incidents of violence which resulted in the pummelling of the party’s deputy, Ms Thokozani Khupe and other senior officials, the party or those who were injured have not made a police report, Sunday News has established.
Ms Khupe and other senior party officials were beaten by youths alleged to have been sent by party president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai last Sunday during a meeting that was dubbed “coalition agreement feedback”.
Property which include windows and chairs was also destroyed during the skirmishes. Ms Khupe and other senior party officials from Matabeleland are said to be unhappy with the formation of the MDC Alliance, a loose coalition between the party and other small political parties. The other senior officials assaulted together with Ms Khupe were national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo and Mr Abednico Bhebhe, the national organising secretary.
MDC-T spokesman Mr Obert Gutu said the issue was internal.
“We have put in place internal means to deal with what transpired in Bulawayo,” said Mr Gutu.
However, Mr Bhebhe, who was also beaten in the violence said he tried to report the matter but the police refused to cooperate.
“I went to report the matter at the (Bulawayo) Central Police Station and I found the place under renovation. I then spoke to a police officer who said I should speak to the member-in-charge. I then reported the matter to him and he asked me why we had not informed the police about the meeting.
When I told him that it was a private meeting and if he could come with me he would see for himself what was happening, his response was that even Zanu-PF experiences disturbances during their meetings,” said Mr Bhebhe.
Surprisingly Mr Bhebhe also said that could have been a Government initiative to attack them.
“The reason why we are now blaming the Government that it might have a hand in influencing the police to refrain from helping us is that why are the police refusing to take a report when their job is to protect people,” he said.
The latest development comes at time when it has also been learnt that Mr Tsvangirai is reportedly planning to send a firefighting team to Bulawayo ahead of the launch of MDC Alliance in the city expected later this month.
The firefighting team will be tasked with ensuring that possible differences within the party are addressed to avoid any skirmishes at the rally which is set for Saturday 26 August.
Internal party sources have now revealed that Mr Tsvangirai was desperate to rope in the province to support the alliance and avoid a possible split within the party.
“The fear is that some members in the province might disrupt the launch hence the need to dispatch a team before the launch, to help iron out issues that the province was raising regarding the coalition deal.
“Although the party has not named the individuals who will constitute the delegation, the provincial leadership has already been informed that there will be meetings held with them ahead of the MDC Alliance launch to iron out the differences rising within the deal,” said the source.
Mr Gutu could neither deny nor confirm the dispatching of the firefighting team, saying they were internal matters which could not be told to the public.
“That is internal matter which I would rather not go into details but what I can confirm is that the MDC Alliance is indeed taking place in Bulawayo on Saturday 26 August, what will happen from now until the launch rally is strictly internal and not for public consumption,” said Mr Gutu.
The party is on the verge of splitting once again after leaders in Matabeleland allegedly resolved to go it alone if Mr Tsvangirai continued to belittle them and force the coalition on them without any consultations.
Simmering tensions came to a head last Sunday after Mr Tsvangirai allegedly hired thugs to assault his lieutenants in the region for snubbing the launch of the MDC Alliance in Harare.
Subsequently the party has suspended two senior party officials and three members of the youth assembly for their involvement in the violence and assault of party bigwigs.
The suspended officials are deputy secretary for information and publicity Ms Thabitha Khumalo and deputy treasurer-general Mr Charlton Hwende, while the three youths were identified as Tafadzwa Chimombe (Harare youth secretary for security), Stephen Chatindo of Ward 22 in Hatfield and Gift Taibu of Budiriro (both in Harare).
The party members from Matabeleland are said to been against Mr Tsvangirai’s decision to surrender seats in the region to his electoral alliance partners.
The MDC has a long history of splitting each time members disagree.
MDC split on 12 October 2005 in the wake of severe differences over participation in the Senatorial elections with Mr Tsvangirai, who was pressuring for a boycott, leading what was then called the anti-Senate faction, while Mr Gibson Sibanda, now late, led the pro-Senate faction.
The anti-Senate faction was to become present day MDC-T while the pro-Senate faction is the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, which further split to spawn MDC99 which was led by Mr Job Sikhala before he later joined MDC-T.
There was a further split in 2014.